NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten

Video of press conference below.

The National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) today announced their support for NASA’s funding of the newly released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The study, “Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public – Private – Partnerships,” finds public-private partnerships are able to return humans to the Moon for approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion, allowing the United States to ensure national security in a new space age.

“The Space Frontier Foundation supports and recommends public-private partnerships in all proposed human spaceflight programs in order to reduce costs and enable these missions that were previously unaffordable,” said the Space Frontier Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, Jeff Feige. “This is the way that America will settle the final frontier, save taxpayers money and usher in a new era of economic growth and STEM innovation.”

NSS and SFF call attention to these conclusions from the study:

  • Enabled by public-private partnerships, NASA’s current human spaceflight budget is sufficient to return humans to the surface of the Moon and develop a permanent lunar base.
  • Mining fuel from lunar poles and transporting it to lunar orbit for use by other spacecraft reduces the cost of sending humans to Mars and other locations beyond low Earth orbit. These commercial fuel depots in lunar orbit have the potential to cut the cost of sending humans to Mars by more than $10 billion per year.

“NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible,” said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins. “A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.”

NSS and SFF add that any space programs able to establish viable commercial partnerships can potentially achieve similar cost reductions.

Video of one-hour press conference:

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